We will not blame them. They were here and then they were not and is that not exactly how life is instructed to be? Here there now gone. That they had felt attached, like an additional appendage on my body, my torso, is irrelevant. That they were not surgically extracted but rather butchered free is irrelevant. That I bled and bled and bled and also bled tears and then cauterized with an iron that withstands the growth of future appendages is irrelevant. The only relevancy: do not trust the Great Taker. He only loans, does not give. The great Usurer.
It is wrong I know. Forgive me for saying but I think of your hands as belonging to a plantation mama: they fold the dough, press through again and again, roll it out; they spank the bottom, love the child, handle everything that comes their way with a dignity that traces generations, centuries, continents. Please forgive me the labels, the shackles, but your hands are strong like a man, kind like a woman, certain like the shaman. And there are idle moments on your table when I can't help but imagine you sitting in front of a cabin fireplace - rocking, knitting and deigning the threads of vitality back into me. Do forgive me, blessed you.
And so I build a team. Team James. Yet to appear: the salon girls. Soon, I promise. And whereas the billy girls brought good looks and a catchy tune and a few dance steps to the table, and little else, my team is comprised of powerful woman with multitude skills - that they are also most fetching is just pleasant coincidence. I am like the pig sniffing truffles: I am onto them now and I will add and add and add unapologetically. I am just like the pig then.